The most important software for multi-player games, after the game itself, is a program that searches for servers that are hosting games. When Quake was first released as shareware, many server locators were developed. As with all things, some programs have been refined and polished during months of development, others have either just begun development, like QHunter, and some have ceased development months ago, like Rift.
All server finders perform the same basic function: they send an pulse, called a ping, to various servers. The server finder may also then provide information about the servers. This information may include your relative speed to the server, the number of players on the server, the modifications being used, and the Internet Protocol (IP) address of the server. The better server finders then provide you with some method of launching the game and connecting directly to the Quake.
The most successful server finders have expanded to include the many new games being released. For example, QTracker, the excellent program by Ron "the_DM" Mercer, stated with Quake but now support QuakeWorld, Quake 2, Hexen 2, and Jedi Knight. A strong utility like this will make finding servers a pleasure.
GameSpy, formerly known as Quake Spy (Q-Spy), is the most popular and most powerful server finder. QSpy was one of the first server finders on the scene and has been subsequently developed with loving care by Team QSpy. Here is the way GameSpy was described by its creators, back when it was still QSpy:
QSpy will measure this lag between you and Internet Quake servers automatically. QSpy downloads a list of servers from your choice(s) of the many available server information sources, such as the aforementioned websites. QSpy then pings all these servers, and lists them according to their latency.
Once the list is complete, you can see what's going on at any server listed. Clicking on a server displays the map being played, the number of players, and the crucial lag information: its ping time and packet loss count (a server with a good ping time can still be difficult to play on if there is a high degree of packet loss). QSpy also shows detailed information about the players on the server, such as their scores and colors, and settings on the server itself, such as teamplay and speed variables.
Once you find the server that want, simply double click on the server's name. QSpy launches Quake and automatically connects to the selected server.
Beyond being the most advanced server finder available, GameSpy also has the distinction of being the frontend for QuakeWorld.Until recently, QSpy was a free program. However, QSpy is now a shareware program that costs $20 U.S. for registration. The shareware version will do almost everything that the registered version does, but a few functions have been limited.
QPlug is another innovative approach to finding a server. QPlug is a browser plug in that allows users to see statistics about a QuakeWorld server in realtime and then connect to the game, all through a browser. This plugin is installed when with the newest version of QuakeWorld, and is also available as a separate program. If you have QPlug, the table below will provide you with current information on a QW server:
If you don't have QPlug, you can download it here. QPlug was created by Jack "morbid" Mathews of Q-Spy fame and John Carmack.
The Quake Server Browser News & Reviews is certainly not the name of server finder, but it is the best resource for evaluating the merits of the available programs. The reviews of some programs have become a bit stale, but Q.S.B.N. does provide in-depth reviews of the eight major programs. Site run by Marty "Fragalot" Gonzales.
Last update: December 21, 1997
This page is maintained by Darren L. Tabor,